Constitutional Amendments

Ceisteanna (277)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

277. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the topics on which constitutional referenda will be held on 24 May 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4493/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

At its meeting on 4 December 2018, the Government reviewed the progress on Bills to amend the Constitution. Work is being progressed in my Department, in consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to inform the development of an appropriate Constitution Amendment Bill for the holding of a referendum on extending the franchise at Presidential elections to Irish citizens resident outside the State. The second referendum, on which work is also progressing and which is due to be held in tandem with the local and European elections, will be on divorce and is a matter for the Minister for Justice and Equality.

Homeless Accommodation Funding

Ceisteanna (278)

Brian Stanley

Ceist:

278. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount paid out for emergency and short-term accommodation, including the cost of family hubs, to house those who are homeless. [4532/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

In relation to operational costs for homeless accommodation and related services, my Department does not provide funding for services directly but provides funding to housing authorities towards these costs. Under the funding arrangements, housing authorities must provide at least 10% of the cost of services from their own resources. Housing authorities may also incur additional expenditure on homeless related services outside of these funding arrangements with my Department. Therefore, the exact amounts spent by housing authorities on homeless services, as well as the types of accommodation and the service providers engaged, are a matter for those authorities.

Exchequer funding for homeless services is provided through my Department to housing authorities on a regional basis. The following table sets out the funding recouped to housing authorities on a regional basis for the years 2015 to 2018. The total budget for 2019 is €146 million.

Exchequer funding for homeless services under the Housing Act, 1988

Region

2015

2016

2017

2018

Dublin

€48,270,201

€68,627,075

€83,616,643

€106,267,187

Mid-East

€1,716,245

€2,746,651

€3,092,923

€3,738,000

Midland

€805,995

€1,109,748

€1,467,615

€2,177,128

Mid-West

€3,499,898

€3,500,000

€3,906,686

€5,044,000

North-East

€996,849

€1,493,336

€2,762,845

€3,007,520

North-West

€387,643

€411,946

€450,000

€541,522

South-East

€2,394,619

€3,041,840

€3,444,510

€3,815,000

South-West

€5,000,686

€5,375,609

€6,703,444

€9,687,741

West

€1,698,834

€2,370,295

€3,791,334

€4,721,895

Financial reports from each of the regions, setting out expenditure on homeless services, including family hubs, in each region are published on my Department's website at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/node/5498. Full year financial reports for 2018 are currently being prepared by housing authorities.

In addition, capital funding amounting to €14.2 million and €48.5 million was provided to housing authorities for the development of family hub facilities in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Local Authority Housing Data

Ceisteanna (279)

Brian Stanley

Ceist:

279. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of local authority housing units completed by local authorities in 2018, in tabular form; and the number completed by each local authority. [4533/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The latest data in relation to social housing delivery to end Q3 2018, broken down by local authority, is published on my Department's website at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision .

Data in relation to Q4 2018 outputs is currently being compiled and will be published shortly.

Housing Assistance Payment Data

Ceisteanna (280)

Brian Stanley

Ceist:

280. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount paid out by local authorities in housing assistance payments in 2018. [4534/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

HAP is funded through a combination of Exchequer monies and tenant differential rents collected in respect of HAP tenancies.

Limerick City and County Council provide a highly effective transactional shared service on behalf of all HAP local authorities. This HAP Shared Services Centre (SSC) manages all HAP related rental transactions for the tenant, local authority and landlord. Accordingly, my Department does not recoup individual local authorities in respect of HAP rental payments in their administrative areas but rather recoups all landlord costs via the HAP SSC.

At the end of Quarter 3 2018, there were more than 40,800 households having their housing needs met via HAP and some 25,500 separate landlords and agents in receipt of monthly HAP payments. Data in respect of Quarter 4 2018, will be available shortly.

The outturn in relation to HAP for 2018 was €276.6 million.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (281)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

281. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of staff working in the procurement area for major State infrastructure projects in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4581/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

There are no members of my Department's staff working directly on the procurement of major State infrastructure projects. The procurement of such projects funded by my Department is generally carried out by local authorities or agencies under the aegis of my Department, with checks/approvals being carried out by my Department, commensurate with its role as project funder, to ensure that appropriate processes, including in respect of procurement, have been followed.

International Conventions

Ceisteanna (282)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

282. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the steps Ireland has taken to ensure that effect is given to the provisions of the Espoo Convention which requires that the party of origin shall ensure that affected parties are notified of a proposed activity that is likely to cause a significant adverse transboundary impact as early as possible and no later than when informing its own public regarding that proposed activity in view of circumstances (details supplied). [4622/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department has not been notified of this national consultation by the French authorities pursuant to the UN Convention on assessing environmental impacts in a transboundary context (the Espoo Convention), or the Protocol on strategic environmental assessment (SEA), or the corresponding requirements of the EU Directives relating to environmental impact assessment (EIA) and SEA.

The Meeting of the Parties (MoP) to the United Nations Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (the Espoo Convention) has been considering, since 2014, whether the extension of the lifetime of a nuclear power plant is within the scope of the Espoo Convention and would therefore trigger a transboundary environmental impact assessment.

In 2017, the MoP established an ad hoc working group to draft guidance on addressing the applicability of the Espoo Convention with regard to decisions on lifetime extensions of nuclear power plants. Work is continuing on the draft guidance, which is expected to be submitted for finalisation to the MoP by the ad hoc working group in December 2020. The progress of the ad hoc working group on this matter will be discussed at the upcoming Intermediary Session of the MoP in February 2019.

As it is not yet clear whether lifetime extensions of nuclear power plants engage the requirements of the Espoo Convention, I have no function in relation to the public consultation concerned, which is for the French public and not a transboundary consultation with other States or Parties to the Convention. My Department has therefore consulted with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) on this matter as responsibility at national level for nuclear policy and radiological protection is within the remit of DCCAE.

Ireland's established position is that, while not a nuclear energy producing country, we acknowledge the right of States to determine their own energy mix. However, we expect that, where a State chooses to develop a nuclear power industry, this will be done in line with the highest international standards with respect to safety and environmental protection.

The issue of ageing nuclear power plant infrastructure is closely monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the general regulatory requirements to be applied by national competent authorities in relation to the approval and operation of nuclear power plants within the EU is set out in the EU Nuclear Safety Directive.

Officials from both my Department and from DCCAE will attend the upcoming Intermediary Session of the Espoo Convention MoP in February 2019.

Traveller Accommodation

Ceisteanna (283, 284)

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

283. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if funding allocated to local authorities for Traveller accommodation may be used to purchase land for Traveller accommodation. [4633/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

284. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the permitted uses for funding allocated to local authorities for Traveller accommodation. [4634/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 283 and 284 together.

In accordance with the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998, housing authorities have statutory responsibility for the assessment of the accommodation needs of Travellers and the preparation, adoption and implementation of multi-annual Traveller Accommodation Programmes (TAPs) in their areas. My Department’s role is to ensure that there are adequate structures and supports in place to assist the authorities in providing such accommodation, including a national framework of policy, legislation and funding.

A dedicated budget is in place to fund the delivery of Traveller-specific accommodation including development of new accommodation as well as renovation and refurbishment work on existing accommodation. The purchase of land for Traveller-specific accommodation falls within this remit. A budget of €13m is available for traveller accommodation purposes in 2019, an increase of €1m on the €12m Estimates provision for this purpose in 2018.

Local authorities submit funding proposals for individual Traveller-specific projects and developments on an annual basis. These projects are assessed on a case-by-case basis in my Department in advance of allocations being made. In addition, further funding may be considered by my Department throughout the year in the light of progress across the programmes generally.

Departmental Contracts Data

Ceisteanna (285)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

285. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the final agreed tender price and the date of the tender for the contract in respect of each capital expenditure project which cost €10 million or more since 2010, in tabular form; the final overall amount paid; the date of the final payment in respect of the completion of the project; the reason the final amount paid exceeded the final tender price; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4648/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

An examination of records indicates that my Department has not engaged directly in any capital project costing €10 million or more in the period from 2010 to date.

Local authorities and bodies under the aegis of my Department enter into capital contracts in the course of their work, some of which is funded through the Department's Vote. As regards relevant contracts for which local authorities are responsible, information on expenditure and multi-annual capital commitments is set out in Note 2.9/2.10 to the Department's Appropriation Accounts for the relevant years ( Vote 25 up to 2014; Vote 34 thereafter) which are published by the Comptroller and Auditor General and are available at www.audit.gov.ie/en/Publications, by clicking on "Appropriation Accounts".

In relation to water services projects, Irish Water has established a team to deal with queries from Oireachtas members on issues arising in relation to Irish Water's activities. The team may be contacted via email to oireachtasmembers@water.ie or by telephone on 1890 578 578.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (286)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

286. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of staff working in the procurement area for major State infrastructure projects in her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4574/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

In regard to my Department’s National Development Plan programme, which involves a number of major State infrastructure projects, it is the responsibility of the Sponsoring Agency, under the Public Spending Code (PSC), to ensure compliance with all relevant procurement requirements. For such projects, my Department is the Sanctioning Authority and as such, exercises an oversight function rather than undertaking procurements directly. Major State infrastructure projects under the aegis of my Department are typically delivered in partnership with national cultural institutions and the Office of Public Works through structures provided for under the PSC.

More generally, where procurement is required within the Department, it is undertaken by the Unit responsible, with support from the Office of Government Procurement, in line with relevant procurement legislation and having regard to the Public Spending Code and Public Financial Procedures.

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (287)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

287. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht further to Parliamentary Question No. 230 of 13 December 2018, if a copy of the report of the archaeologist carried out in 2015 and the 2018 fieldwork results now to hand will be provided; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4685/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I am arranging for the report on the excavations in Mayne Bog, Co. Westmeath, that were licensed by my Department in 2015 to be made available to the Deputy by the Department's National Monuments Service. However, I am advised that the complete report of the results of the 2018 assessment by the landowners of the archaeological potential of the area of bog that is subject to peat extraction is not yet available. It will be provided to the Deputy once it has been received and reviewed by the National Monuments Service.